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January 1st, 2014:

Twelve years

Twelve years ago today, I started this blog. That was on blogspot – believe it or not, it still exists; truly, the Internet is forever – and a few months later I had my own domain. I don’t do retrospectives, I don’t have a list of favorite or “most popular” posts readily available, and sometimes I don’t even remember to mark my blogging anniversaries, but I figured I ought to mention it this time, as I enter my baker’s dozenth year at it.

I tend to be a creature of habit, and when I find something I like that works for me, I just keep doing it. That’s the basic answer to the question of why I do this and how long I plan to keep doing it. It’s fun, I get something out of it, I’d miss it if I weren’t doing it, so I have no plans to stop. The day when those things are no longer true will come, but it’s not on my radar just yet.

One of the things I have enjoyed getting from this blog is a long list of friendships and acquaintances from across the political spectrum and in media, traditional and otherwise. I’ve gotten to meet a whole lot more people in real life because of this Internet thing than I could have without it. I’ve gotten to be on TV – I’ll be doing another episode of Red, White, and Blue to be aired on January 17 – and on radio – I’m doing another segment of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” for Houston Matters for this Friday, the 3rd – and discovered that I enjoy doing those things as well. More recently, I discovered that I have achieved the pinnacle of Internet fame when I stumbled across a Wikipedia page for this blog. I swear on whatever you have handy that I had nothing to do with that, and that I have no idea who created it.

Most of all, I enjoy the feedback I get from you, my readers. It still amazes me that there are people who read this blog. Thank you for doing so, thank you for commenting, and especially thank you for letting me know when I’ve got something wrong, and when I’ve got something right. I’d probably still write this thing if all my words were going into a big void, but it’s a lot more fun this way. As a reminder, there are multiple ways you can be notified about new posts on this blog. There’s good old fashioned RSS, there’s the Off the Kuff Twitter feed, and there’s the Off the Kuff Facebook page, which has 422 followers and which I’d dearly love to get to 500, if you’re so inclined. But however you access this blog, thank you for doing so, and thank you for coming back. Here’s to another fun year.

Wendy Davis is our Texan of the Year

From the Texas Progressive Alliance press release:

Sen. Wendy Davis

Sen. Wendy Davis

The Texas Progressive Alliance, the nation’s largest state-based association of online and netroots activists, today named State Senator Wendy Davis recipient of its Texan of the Year Award for 2013.

“Senator Davis’ actions this year made her a clear choice. Our vote was unanimous,” said Vince Leibowitz, Chair of the Alliance. Leibowitz said Senator Davis’ June filibuster of Senate Bill 5 on behalf of Texas women and the preservation of reproductive rights was a courageous action that served to galvanize and energize Texas Democrats. “Senator Davis’ courage to stand up and block this outrageous legislation helped raise awareness in Texas of the assault on a woman’s right to choose that our legislature has waged for the last decade, as well as the extraordinary measures right-wing Republicans in Texas will take both to trample the rights of women and their own colleagues in government,” Leibowitz continued.

Not only did Davis’ actions draw national attention to Texas, but her filibuster and subsequent campaign for Texas Governor have galvanized Texas Democrats. “We have not seen this kind of excitement for a non-presidential election in Texas in many years. We see Democrats are energized, organized, and ready to take back our state for the people. To a great extend, we have Senator Davis and her courageous actions to thank for this; she served as a unifying figure for our party to rally around, and her actions will both strenghten the party in the long run and serve to expand our base,” said Charles Kuffner, Vice Chair of the Alliance.

Previous Texan of the Year recipients are: Carolyn Boyle of Texas Parent PAC (2006); Texas House Democratic Leaders State Reps. Jim Dunnam, Garnet F. Coleman, and Pete Gallego (2007); the Harris County Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign (2008); Houston Mayor Annise Parker (2009); Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns (2010); and the protesters of the Tar Sands Blockade (2012). There was no award given in 2011.

Yes, I’m quoting myself in a press release. Deal with it. PDiddie adds a wrapper on this that I can’t improve on, so go click over there for his thoughts. All I can say is that I hope 2014 is an even better and more successful year for Sen. Davis.

Adios, Arrow

One less rock station on the air in Houston.

So instead of Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy on 93.7, from now on you will probably hear Holy Grail by Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake. Just whatever you do, don’t let Timberlake get near Reliant Stadium and Janet Jackson again!

That’s because after 20 years, 93.7 The Arrow KKRW has flipped to an urban format with Beyonce as the first song. Fitting for Houston. 93.7 The Beat “H-Town’s Real Hip Hop and R&B” will target a heavy female audience with the likes of Rihanna, Jay Z, Drake, Chris Brown, Beyoncé and Miguel.

And the new station was taking swipes at market leader 97.9 The Box KBXX from the get go.

“93.7 The Beat is ready to write a new chapter in Houston radio history. We’re defining what real hip hop and R&B is,” said Eddie Martiny, President and Market Manager, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Houston. “Many of the biggest stars in this format live in Houston, so to move the station in this direction was a natural choice. In addition, The Beat format will perfectly complement the five other radio stations in our cluster by making us more attractive and diverse to our advertising community.”

The process started New Year’s Eve day 2013 at 10am. As I blogged earlier, the station started playing a wide variety of music from Miley Cyrus, Eminem to Oingo Boingo with pre-recorded announcements heralding the end of The Arrow and that a new station would arrive at noon (SEE THE LAST THREE SONGS THE ARROW PLAYED).

KKRW wasn’t technically the first “classic rock” station in Houston. At least as far as I know, which is to say going back to 1988 when I arrived in Houston, that would have been the late 107.5 KZFX, which didn’t market itself as “classic rock” but played an era-specific list of songs from the 60s and 70s, tending towards the British Invasion stuff (the Animals, Cream, Procol Harum) and later acts with a similar sound. KKRW was Classic Rock and all that name implies from the get go, and the market couldn’t support both of them plus KLOL, so KZFX eventually went a different way, first into new wave/alternative rock (The Buzz), then switching formats with oldies station 94.5, before melding with 106.9 to become dominant Classic Rockers The Eagle, which included a landing place for former KKRW Wacky Morning DJs Dean and Rog. I can’t say I’m surprised that once again, the market couldn’t keep two Classic Rock stations afloat, even if there isn’t a KLOL equivalent out there any more (and holy crap, it’ll be ten years since KLOL switched formats next November).

Unlike the KLOL change, which by that time didn’t affect me much but was a punch in the gut to my memories, this change doesn’t really mean anything to me. I was never more than an occasional listener to KKRW, as even in the early days I thought their playlist was too narrow and predictable. About the only time I listen to the radio is in my car, and with my shorter commute and non-driving lunchtimes, that ain’t much these days. I keep the dial on KACC except for those times when its signal is too messed up or when they’re broadcasting a high school football game. I still think there’s room in this town for a rock station that doesn’t suck, but that dream becomes less and less likely with each passing day. Any Arrow fans out there that are in mourning over this? Leave a note in the comments if so.